• April Showers Make Rainbows

    April Showers Preschool Dance Theme
  • April is an exciting time at Dance Exploration! As the school year winds down and we start thinking about Summer Camps, we are still reminded of all the fun learning opportunities that Spring Time has to offer…and April and May are some of our favorite Preschool Dance Themes of the entire year! In April we focus on the rainstorms that are associated with springtime with our Preschool Dance Theme: April Showers. In this blog post we are focusing on the sub-theme April Showers make Rainbows! Of course, we have all heard the saying April Showers bring May Flowers and while we have nothing against flowers at Dance Exploration, we also have the entire month of May to focus on them. So April is dedicated to rainstorms, thunder, lighting and…Rainbows! 

  • At Dance Exploration, we follow the Dance to Learn® Curriculum which is designed to teach dance concepts in a play-based environment. During the April Showers Theme we explore the Dance concepts of Body Shapes, Positional Concepts, Pathways and more. We teach the concepts in a fun, imaginative and play-based environment through themes and concepts that are familiar to them. This helps them retain the information as well as apply it to their every day lives. Today we will explore the dance concepts of Body Shapes and Positional Concepts!

  • April Showers Make Rainbows

    Dance Concept: Body Shapes

    During the first week of our April Showers theme, we study the concept of Body Shapes! Now, we could just teach the dance concept of body shapes by using random pictures of people making the shapes with their bodies, but we think that’s a little boring! So we step it up a notch and teach these body shapes using items our students see every day! For April those are the clouds in the sky (curvy), raindrops (straight), lightning (angular), wind (twisted) and the rainbow (curvy)! 

    When we begin our Preschool dance classes, we start by Exploring the Concept. We print out some bright visual aids that show the exact items we are discussing, next we stand up and translate those visuals our bodies. A great example is in the picture on the left. The dancer is showing the body shape of Curvy with her port de bras (arm movement). She is making a curvy cloud in the sky with her body! 

  • A big part of teaching the dance concepts through a theme is ensuring we are following a natural progression that makes sense to the dancer. For example, April Showers Make a Rainbow, we teach our dance moves and concepts in a sequence that follows the natural progression of making a rainbow; for example: 

    A curvy rain cloud appears followed soon by rain drops falling straight from the sky. As the storm intensifies an angular strike of lightning appears in the sky! A strong gust of twisted wind blows sweeping the storm away. The sun comes out and the curvy rainbow appears. 

  • How do we turn that sequence and those body shapes into movement? In the Dance to Learn® Curriculum, Creative Dance classes are founded in ballet. So movements are simple beginning ballet movements combined with general movements (marches, gallops, crawls, twirls, etc). Our rainstorm begins with our curvy port de bras (arm movements) as a snow cloud raises in the sky (pliés). The rain begins to fall straight from the sky (arms a la second as we cambré stretch forward). Next an angular lightning strikes from the sky (arabesque). A  twisted gust of wind blows through (twirl or piqué turn). Lastly the curvy rainbow appears and dancers make their rainbow pose (tendu passé). We explore all these movements during the Exploring the Concept part of class and each part of the sequence is added on until we have a complete choreographed dance! 

    After we explore the concept, we move onto across the floor. Most dance classes include an across the floor that includes developing skills and technique based drills. While we do teach movements in a way to focus on technical execution, at Dance Exploration, we also want our progressions to fit into the theme progression we are learning. Therefore we create an obstacle course that builds progressively to teach dance movements focused on the daily concept. We call this the Story Dance Pathway™. 

  • In the photo above, we have included some icons to show each part of the Story Dance Pathway™ to help you visualize the sequence. Of course we include a series of fun props that children can interact with to help their sensory development. The first prop in the obstacle course is our clouds where we perform our curvy cloud pliés and port de bras. Next is a straight line of Rain drops. We make our body straight and tip toe walk through the rain. Next we pick up the lightning bolts and strike our angular arabesque! Standing in a round hula hoop, dancers are reminded to twist their bodies and make a gust of wind with a twirl. Lastly they put on their rainbow ribbons and make their curvy rainbow pose with their tendu passé!

  • How do we teach other Dance Concepts following a Theme?

    How do we use the Story Dance Pathway™ to teach other concepts? Watch the video below! This was taken from a Creative Dance class at the Castle Rock Community Recreation Center. During this week of our theme, we were exploring Positional Concepts of Over, Through, Around and Under. We used the visual of a Unicorn as it leaped over the clouds, flew through the raindrops, glided around the sun and then posed gallantly under the rainbow! 

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